Written by Mattie Powers // Graphic by Cooper Turman
Chartwells, Harding University’s food service company, decided to hold focus groups this week to get feedback on campus dining services, aiming to improve the experiences of students, faculty and staff.
An email was sent out March 21 asking for participation in their focus group sessions by applying online. The sessions took place March 29-30 at various times throughout both days. Spots were limited.
The focus group sessions included campus residents, faculty, staff and commuters. As an incentive to partake in the focus groups, participants were given 25 dining dollars and a free meal at the session.
Taylor Grant, a marketing manager at Chartwells and one of the coordinators of the focus groups, is seeking to have discussions that go beyond the limits of a survey.
“It just gives us a good opportunity to sit down with students and faculty and staff as we do lots of surveys throughout the year, but a lot of times the results are very vague,” Grant said. “It’s just, ‘Better food, better quality,’ but that doesn’t really give us a whole lot to go off of. So having these focus groups lets us sit down one-on-one and be like, ‘Okay, what is better food for you,’ because what I consider maybe better may not be something that our students, our staff consider.”
This is not the first time Chartwells has organized focus group sessions for feedback as they held similar sessions the last two years.
Many students signed up for this year’s event, including freshman Reagan Marks.
“I’m looking forward to watching what some people say turn into something positive for future students,” Marks said.
Another student who applied to be a part of a focus group session was sophomore Alyson Voigt, who believes the discussion can make a difference in Harding’s dining experiences.
“I think if they take our advice, then it will [make a difference], ‘cause if it just is a meeting, and they don’t act on it, then it won’t,” Voigt said. “But I think if it does, then it’ll help.”